Florida university takes over undersea science lab

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MIAMI (AP) - Florida International University is taking over an undersea research lab in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Aquarius Reef Base sits on the ocean floor a few miles off Key Largo. It allows scientists to live and work underwater for days at a time without coming up for air.

FIU officials said Tuesday the school received a grant to maintain the lab for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2013. The school also will develop a business model for funding operations there.

Aquarius was the last government-funded underwater lab until the Obama administration cut its funding. It was scheduled to shut down at the end of 2012.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington ran the lab for NOAA from 1991 until last year.

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Online:

Aquarius Reef Base: http://aquarius.uncw.edu/

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